I don't know exactly which one is more official and correct? Master's Student Masters Student MSc Student

What is main difference?

  • Please include the research you’ve done. Questions that can be answered using commonly-available references are off-topic. Commented Sep 1, 2017 at 7:35
  • 1
    The question is not a duplicate, as using master's with degree arguably works differently from using it with student. A master's degree is a degree that belongs to a master, which makes it natural to include an apostrophe. A person studying to become a master, however, does not belong to a master, which makes the apostrophe in master's student questionable. Taken literally, a master's student would be somebody who is studying with a master, which is clearly not what is intended.
    – jsw29
    Commented May 25, 2021 at 20:55

1 Answer 1


There are various master's degrees, such as MA (Master of Arts), MSc (Master of Science), MPhil (Master of Philosophy), MTheol (Master of Theology).

"An MSc student" would only cover one of these possibilities, while "a master's student" would cover all of them. You could say "a postgraduate student", but this would include people studying towards doctorates.

The apostrophe in "master's" should be retained (see https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/master_1 for examples).

"Master's student" has some official or semi-official usage ( https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=%22master%27s+students%22+site:.ac.uk ; http://www.manchester.ac.uk/study/masters/funding/living-costs/ ).

  • 1
    Someone proposed an edit, which I rejected as unnecessarily radical. However, I accept that most style guides recommed a lower-case for generic references to a "master's" (whereas specific degrees are capitalised), so I have amended the casing accordingly.
    – rjpond
    Commented May 25, 2021 at 20:37

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